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Nguyen Quang Thieu

PROMETEO
Revista Latinoamericana de Poesía
Número 81-82. Julio de 2008.

A SHORT ANTHOLOGY
OF VIETNAMESE POETRY

Edited by Nguyen Bao Chan


Nguyen Quang Thieu
1957

In July Reminiscence

In my dream our bodies cut the bed in a long diagonal.
We lie like two trees felled in a storm
Above us, woodsmen, their faces covered by masks,
Run a plumb line down our bodies.

They cut us up into blood red pieces
They never make a sound.
The blade rips through us in flashes of light, bright and colorful as fireworks.
Our life blood flies up as dust in the sparks.

Our bed’s become a workshop.
Bits of our lives turned into beds, tables, wardrobes, coffins.
We’re everywhere, but the trees no longer know us.
To them we are just a deaf and dumb memory.

The woodsmen never think of us rising up again,
Not out of mere sawdust and shavings.
They throw the last few scraps into the fire;
Our lives shine out through the blaze.

The woodsmen now are being led away from the workshop.
They pass by beneath the trees
Who honor their last requests
Let them keep on their masks.

Translated by Nguyen Quang Thieu and Kevin Bowen.


 

Nguyễn Quang Thiều (born 1957) is a poet, fiction writer, playwright, and translator. He entered Ha Noi University in 1975 and began to write poetry in 1982. He studied Spanish and English in Cuba from 1984 to 1989. He has published many collections of poetry in Vietnamese. He received the Writer’s Association National Award for poetry in 1993. The bilingual edition of The Women Carry River Water (1997), translated by Martha Collins with assistance by Nguyen Ba Chung, marked the first English translation of a collection of poems by a Vietnamese writer of the post-1975 generation and received an award from The National Translation Association of America in 1998. He also received the Writer’s Association National Award for poetry in 1993.

Última actualización: 24/01/2020